It’s that time of year again—the days are getting shorter, and the end of daylight savings time means that many of us are traveling home from work in the dark. The switch to a darker commute isn’t just hard on the psyche; it can be dangerous, especially for pedestrians and bicyclists.
Starting next week, the San Francisco Bicycle Coalition (SFBC) and the San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency (SFMTA) are partnering to help keep bicycle riders safer and more visible on the city’s congested streets.
For the next month, volunteers and staffers from the SFBC, the SFMTA, and the SF Police Department will distribute and install free front and rear bike lights during the evening commute. This is the second year for the “Light Up the Night” campaign, which will provide 2,000 LED lights and reflectors as well as safety information to cyclists at busy bike routes throughout the city. The lights are paid for by the San Francisco County Transportation Authority, and funded by a sales tax measure.
According to the SFMTA, there are 60% more people riding bikes in San Francisco than there were five years ago—a dramatic increase. Although bike lights are required by law in California, not all riders know about the rules, or can afford the proper lights.
“Distributing the lights directly to riders allows us to not only ensure that bicyclists get the word that being properly visible is the law,” said Edward Reiskin, SFMTA director, “But also to inform more bicyclists about what they can do to be safer on the streets.”